July 13, 2012
New Study Reveals Emerging Social Media Trends In Key Vertical Markets, Including Banking, Government, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail and Utilities — Retailers Lead All Verticals With Social Media Investments
International Data Corporation (IDC) this week announced the findings of a new study, 2012 U.S. Social Media Trends by Vertical, which highlight the adoption of social media as an emerging technology across six major vertical markets including banking, government, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and utilities. Part of IDC's annual vertical view survey, the study found that, similar to Internet adoption in the 1990s, B2C companies — especially retailers — are driving social media adoption while B2B companies lag behind. The report also found that social media is enabling organizations to increase productivity and improve knowledge sharing as they leverage social networks to share best practices and identify appropriate resources. The study also found that when comparing social media investment to other emerging technology areas, retailers more than any other industry are making strong investments. Successful retailers are integrating their mobile, analytic, and social media strategies into one cohesive business approach. Social media touch points such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon are enabling these organizations to analyze customer behavior and in turn deliver personalized offers direct to a consumer's mobile device. "Industries that are consumer focused such as communications, media, and recreational services are spending a larger percentage of their IT budget on social media as it is easy for them to make the shift to adopting the way consumers communicate," said Eileen Smith, program manager for global technology and industry research organization at IDC, in a news release. "However, there are early adopters in other vertical markets, such as insurance and professional services. Emerging uses in the construction industry, for instance, demonstrate how B2B organizations can leverage social media as a powerful collaboration tool to share project and material data, submit bids, and review designs."
Additional key findings from the study include:
- Increasing awareness of product and services is the top social media investment driver
- Respondents cited managing and tracking all posted content as the top challenge to social media
- Social networking accounts for half of the social media budget
- Marketing is the biggest user of social media and is driving the purchasing decision of these technologies
Across all verticals, the research found that moderating conversations about products and services was not a high priority. IDC notes that companies are not taking full advantage of the communications aspect of social media and are using it more as a one way method of communication — gathering feedback or pushing brand messaging to a wide audience — rather than collaborative communication as the medium was intended.